Spared an arranged marriage with a leprous winery owner, Jiu'er (Gong Li) has a son with one of her bridal palanquin bearers (Jiang Wen) and together they transform the business into a collective enterprise and resist the brutality of the invading Japanese.
Red may dominate Zhang's palette, most notably in the climactic sequence in which Jiu'er's blood mingles with the wine and trickles into the sorghum field as an eclipse bathes the entire scene in intense colour. But it represented life and death, birth and renewal, and the physicality and humanity of the villagers as much as it did the Party.
Reviewed by David Parkinson
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